Disaster Alert Transmitters essential to avert mishaps

Unlit fishing boats are vulnerable to collision at sea in the dark, particularly when they are stranded due to engine failures, Inspector-General of Coast Guard (Region East) Commander Satya Prakash Sharma said on Wednesday.

Pointing out that fibreglass boats often went under radar surveillance, he said if it was realised at the last minute that something was in the way, large ships would not be able to stop or alter their course.

“Even if the engines are stopped, it takes at least a mile and a half for the ship to come to a complete halt. If a stranded boat is seen well in advance, we can change the course of the ship. But if the boats are dependent on engines for light, the purpose stands defeated when they (the engines) fail,’ he said.

Suggesting that kerosene-lit lamps or other forms of reliable lighting was essential on all fishing boats after dusk irrespective of the status of engines, Commander Sharma said fibreglass boats were often not traceable in the radar cross section area.

Since ships have a certain height, a shadow zone would affect visibility for about 100 metres at sea.

“It becomes even more complicated to see small boats when ships approach the harbour as the background would be illuminated with city lights. It is imperative for fishermen to have adequate lighting on their boats to get noticed and avoid collision," he said.

Transmitters

“The fishermen should carry oars so that they can at least move away from direct impact. Equipping fishing boats with Disaster Alert Transmitters (DATs) would go a long way in averting mishaps...,” he said.

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